U.S. Sends Planes Armed with Depleted Uranium to Middle East Aletho News, By David Swanson | War is a Crime | October 28, 2014 The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them.
A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). “Weight for weight and by number of rounds more 30mm PGU-14B ammo has been used than any other round,” said ICBUW coordinator Doug Weir, referring to ammunition used by A-10s, as compared to DU ammunition used by tanks.
Public affairs superintendent Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing told me that the A-10s now in the Middle East along with “300 of our finest airmen” have been sent there on a deployment planned for the past two years and have not been assigned to take part in the current fighting in Iraq or Syria, but “that could change at any moment.”
The crews will load PGU-14 depleted uranium rounds into their 30mm Gatling cannons and use them as needed, said Hubble. “If the need is to explode something — for example a tank — they will be used.” Continue reading
Secret collusion between USA nuclear regulator and nuclear energy company to cover up earthquake risk?
In Federal Court Filing, PG&E and Nuclear Regulator Said to Collude in Secret Decision to Cover up Diablo Canyon’s Vulnerability to Earthquakes http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/56383-in-federal-court-filing-pg-e-and-nuclear-regulator-said-to-collude-in-secret-decision-to-cover-up-diablo-canyon-s-vulnerability-to-earthquakes.html WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—October 28, 2014. Friends of the Earth has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn a secret decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to illegally alter the operating license for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant allowing Pacific Gas and Electric to hide the fact that the reactors are vulnerable to earthquakes stronger than it was meant to withstand.
In a July 2013 formal dissent, which the NRC suppressed for more than a year, Dr. Peck argued that newly discovered faults could produce earthquakes far more destructive than the plant was designed, built and licensed to withstand. Last month, in rejecting the dissent, the NRC revealed that in September 2013 it had changed the way the risk of earthquakes at the plant are assessed — in effect, rewriting history and science to make the threat of more powerful earthquakes go away, without requiring any safety upgrades by PG&E.
The amendment was added in secret, unknown beyond the highest levels of PG&E and the NRC. Continue reading
Friends of the Earth petitions U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review licensing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor
Group Asks Court For Review Of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactor License Over Earthquake Fears http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/10/28/environmental-group-asks-court-for-review-of-pge-diablo-canyon-nuclear-reactor-license-over-earthquake-fears/ October 28, 2014 AVILA BEACH, San Luis Obispo County (CBS SF) — An environmental group asked a federal court Tuesday to review its claim that California’s last operating nuclear power plant is violating federal law and should be shut down at least temporarily.
In a petition filed in Washington with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Friends of the Earth said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated its own rules when it altered the operating license for the Diablo Canyon reactors.
The petition marked the latest development in the dispute over potential danger posed by earthquake faults near the reactors.In a statement, the group said the change, involving how risks from earthquakes are assessed, should have triggered a license amendment proceeding that would have involved public hearings. Instead, the change was made internally.
The petition asked that the change be overturned and the court order a license amendment proceeding. It also asks that the power plant be shut down until those proceedings are completed.
“The NRC acted arbitrarily, abused its discretion and violated” federal laws by approving the change without seeking the required license amendment, the petition said. The NRC and plant owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co. have long said the plant located near San Luis Obispo, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is safe and in compliance with regulations.
NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said in an email the agency will review the filing.
The environmental group said the NRC and the company are trying to conceal that the reactors are vulnerable to strong shaking from possible earthquakes. “It is now clear that these outdated 1960s-era reactors are not built to withstand the earthquake risks that surround the plant,” spokesman Damon Moglen said in a statement. “Instead of making them address these safety issues, the NRC worked with PG&E to change the rules.”
U.S. nuclear regulators probing leak at Honeywell uranium plant BY LEWIS KRAUSKOPF Tue Oct 28, 2014 Oct 28 (Reuters) – U.S. nuclear regulators are investigating a leak of uranium hexafluoride that occurred on Sunday at an Illinois plant operated by Honeywell International Inc where union workers have been locked out.
Honeywell confirmed the Sunday evening leak at its Metropolis, Illinois plant, saying it was due to an equipment failure. There were no injuries and no reason to believe anyone was endangered by the leak, according to Honeywell.
An inspector from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission started an investigation at the plant on Tuesday, said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah.
“At this point we’re still in a fact-finding mode,” Hannah said. “We haven’t come to any conclusions about whether processesweren’t followed.” He said the investigation could take a few days to a week. Honeywell’s Metropolis plant is the only U.S. facility that converts uranium oxide into to uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, which is then enriched to be used as fuel in nuclear power plants.
Uranium hexafluoride is radioactive, and if released into the air can be chemically toxic……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/28/honeywell-intl-uranium-idUSL1N0SN0ZX20141028
U.S. Said to Join Russia in Blocking Nuclear Safety Moves, Bloomberg By Jonathan Tirone Oct 23, 2014 The U.S. and Russia are joining forces to block a European plan to raise the protection of nuclear reactors against natural disasters after the meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant, diplomats say.
Envoys from both countries are trying to derail a Swiss-led initiative that would force nuclear operators to invest more on safety, undermining attempts to harmonize global safety regulation, according to eight European and U.S. diplomats who attended meetings in Vienna last week. All asked not to be named in line with rules kept by the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the legal body overseeing the talks……….
The U.S.-Russia collaboration reflects a nuclear-safety convention whose secrecy is laid bare in documents obtained by Bloomberg News under a Freedom of Information Act request.
It also underscores the high stakes for an industry trying to bounce back after the Fukushima accident. European attempts to impose higher safety standards would make nuclear power more costly just as plant operators come under price pressure from cheaper natural gas………
U.S. regulators aren’t requiring the same stringent modifications, according to Edwin Lyman of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group. European utilities pay as much as five times more to fit out plants to withstand earthquakes and floods as a result, he said………..
While nuclear meltdowns are considered cross-border incidents because of the radioactive fallout that can result, no international authority exists to compel countries to adopt safety standards. Instead, regulators from around the world routinely review each other’s practices to figure out which works best. Laggards face peer criticism that can make them look bad in forums like the convention.
At the convention’s 2008 meeting — the last before Fukushima — Japan was criticized by peers for being slow to overhaul a reporting system that had been caught using “falsified inspection data,” the documents show. Participants also urged Japan, then the world’s third-largest nuclear-power generator, to review how safe its reactors were against earthquakes……..http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-23/u-s-said-to-join-russia-in-blocking-nuclear-safety-moves.html
Frances Crowe, 95-year-old antinuclear activist, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 8 Oct 14, AbstractIn this interview, legendary activist Frances Crowe looks back on 70 years of protesting against the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. She describes the impact that the news of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima had on the American public in 1945—and how she and her husband, a radiologist and physician who had educated her on the effects of radiation poisoning, then decided to take a stand against its use. Among other acts of civil disobedience, she went on to spend a month in federal prison after spray-painting “Thou Shalt Not Kill” on the casings of missile tubes at a nuclear submarine base in Rhode Island. This grandmother of five has been arrested nine times for trespassing at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station and was arrested again on January 14, two months shy of her 95th birthday. On the eve of the publication of her book, Finding My Radical Soul, Crowe tells about growing up in the Midwest during an era of Progressive politics, her evolution as a protestor, the limits of civil disobedience, what drove her and her husband—and what continues to drive her today.
When asked how many times she’s been arrested, the mild-looking, Ivy League-educated, 4-foot 11-inch, 95-year-old Quaker said, “Not enough”—before conceding that she stopped counting after the number topped 50……….
Always at the core, however, was her fierce stance against nuclear weapons and nuclear power. She’s been described as an activist’s activist, extremely energetic, determined, and creative when it comes to new ways of getting her anti-nuclear weapons and anti-nuclear power message across: running a draft counseling center, disrupting the christenings of submarine launches, and helping to come up with the “BB demonstration” to illustrate the killing power of nuclear weapons. She’s been expressing her views for some 70 years—so long that the police are perplexed when arresting her for civil disobedience: “One gets a lot of mileage out of white hair,” she once observed.
Despite her strong opinions, Crowe is unfailingly polite and considerate, as even her opponents admit; she has been arrested so often at Vermont Yankee that she is on first-name terms with the chief of police—with whom she exchanges mystery novels…………..http://bos.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/10/08/0096340214555076.full
US: We’ll help build nuclear plant The Star 26 Oct KUALA LUMPUR: The United States is willing to help Malaysia should it decide to build a nuclear power plant, says American diplomat Laura E. Kennedy.
Kennedy, charge d’affaires at the Permanent Mission of the US to the International Organisations in Vienna, said her country had a long standing nuclear power industry with the right expertise………
The envoy, who is in the country to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, said Malaysians should be aware that nuclear technology could be beneficial in fields such as health and agriculture……http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/10/26/US-Well-help-build-nuclear-plant/
Magnuson neighbors don’t trust Navy’s radiation cleanup Kirotv.com By Deborah Horne and Henry Rosoff, 21 Oct 14 SEATTLE — Tuesday night about 100 people told the Navy that the radiation cleanup efforts at Magnuson Park are not going far enough. The comments came during a forum at the park.
“The soil that’s been there is eventually going to come up, and is going to be contaminated,” said Peggy Maze Johnson.
Johnson and others at the meeting said cleanup crews only seem to be focusing on a few exposed areas near two building. “They need to start examining the whole of Magnuson Park,” she said……….
The ground got contaminated during World War II when the Navy used radium paint to make aircraft dials glow in the dark. To make matters worse, the radiation was discovered at least three years before residents were informed, leaving a residue of distrust.
“I don’t trust the Navy,” said Pollet. “Our residents have no reason to trust the Navy.”
Cindy O’Hare, who is overseeing the Navy’s cleanup, admits they botched their initial handling of the situation…….http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/magnuson-neighbors-dont-trust-navys-radiation-clea/nhpY8/
US opposes pos t-Fukushima nuclear safety proposal http://rt.com/usa/199024-cns-nuclear-safety-proposal/
But while Reuters says the Swiss-led initiative is tentatively being backed by other European countries, the newswire alleges that energy officials in the US, Russia and Canada are all opposed to the measure, which would likely increase industry costs.
Although details of the proposed pact have not been made public, Bloomberg reported that it would involve rewriting “international standards to ensure nuclear operators not only prevent accidents but mitigate consequences if they occur, by installing costly new structures built to survive natural disasters.” In a report published on Thursday this week by Reuters, the newswire said that the proposed changes would not only apply up-to-date safety standards for new reactors, but also carry out back-fitting measures on sites that are already in operation.According to this week’s reports, however, some of the world’s top energy powers are opposed because, as Reuters’ Fredrick Dahl wrote, any changes to the CNS could take years to be installed if, of course, they are ratified by the dozens of nations involved. “You are trying to drop a Ferrari engine into a Volkswagen. If you want a new car, let’s go to the show room” and buy one, a senior but unnamed Department of State official said to Dahl.
But experts have previously said American facilities, in particular, are in need of upgrades, with a July 2014 report published by the National Academy of Science that said the US “should access their preparedness for severe nuclear accidents associated with offsite-scale disasters.” Additionally, the authors of that study wrote that America’s current approach to nuclear safety is “clearly inadequate for preventing core-melt accidents and mitigating their consequences,” yet newly-initiated upgrades in the US are being conducted on a scale hardly comparable to what’s occurring overseas: according to Bloomberg, Electricite de France SA is spending around $13 billion on implementing safety measures on its 59 reactors, whereas American utilities will spend only $3 billion on portable generators and cooling reserves for roughly 100 reactors.
Nevertheless, officials in Berne remain optimistic that the countries currently opposed to the proposed changes will come to an agreement that makes facilities around the world more secure.
“Switzerland, as the initiator of the proposal, will continue to collaborate with all delegations and do everything to find a solution that is acceptable to all of us,” Georg Schwarz, deputy director general of the Swiss nuclear-safety regulator, ENSI, wrote to Bloomberg Business Week.
Russian officials did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment, and neither BusinessWeek nor Reuters included remarks from Canada in their report.
THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth. …………………….
US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years……….Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House… a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”…………………..
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”…………………
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.http://littledarwin.blogspot.com.au/
Pitt researchers awarded a nearly $1-million grant for nuclear power safety research By Stephanie Ritenbaugh / Pittsburgh Post-GazetteOctober 22, 2014 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh were awarded a $987,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs to develop a fiber optical sensor network to improve safety in nuclear power reactors……..The grant was part of $11 million awarded for 12 research and development projects. http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/companies-powersource/2014/10/22/Pennsylvania-DEP-fines-Regency-Marcellus-Gas-Gathering-more-than-300-000/stories/201410220158
Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALD OCT. 19, 2014 The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.
Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment.
At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs substantially older than that.“I don’t know how we would explain to the public that these designs, 90-year-old designs, 100-year-old designs, are still safe to operate,” he said. “Don’t we need more convincing arguments than just ‘We’re managing aging effects’?”
“I mean, will you buy a car that was designed in ’64?” he asked……. Continue reading
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
“I don’t like to break the law and don’t encourage others to do so, either. But this industry has to be stopped.”
Ace Hoffman October 19, 2014
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…
Four grandmothers attempted to plant flowers to bring attention to the dangers at Pilgrim nuclear power plant. But Judge Sullivan refused to allow world-renowned pediatrician and nuclear expert Helen Caldicott to testify in their defense, because she (the judge) sees a huge difference — when pushed to see it by the District Attorney — between “potential theoretical harm” and actual imminent harm.
The defendants — four women 60 to 80 years old — are using the “necessity” defense. Is there an immediate danger? Is the illegal act (trespassing) effective in addressing and abating the danger? The judge refused to learn how quickly a nuclear power plant can explode. She refused to hear that the plans for evacuation require immediate action for millions of people around the plant. She refused to consider that the warning that it’s time to evacuate must be sent out by people who, if they fail to do their duty, will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and end up in Judge Sullivan’s court (if she survives the holocaust) to be sentenced for negligent homicide.
How imminent can you get?
And sticks and stones may break my bones but planting flowers never hurt anybody.
The judge would like to turn the issue of nuclear safety away. Not her concern. Not in her courtroom. That’s for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide. They say it’s safe. And for the judge, that’s the end of the “imminent threat” defense. Continue reading
In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making, NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALDOCT. 19, 2014………..The agency started Watts Bar as part of a campaign to build 17 reactors, but dropped the project in 1988 after spending about $1.7 billion, when it was supposedly 80 percent complete. In 2007, with electricity demand growing again, the T.V.A. board voted to restart work because, consultants said, it could be finished for $2 billion. But by the end of next year, when commercial operation is now expected, the T.V.A. will have spent more than $4 billion…………..Not everyone is convinced that finishing the job is a good idea.
The underlying difficulty, according to S. David Freeman, whom President Jimmy Carter appointed to chair the T.V.A. in 1977, and who tried to shut many of the nuclear projects, is that the agency’s executives are “nuke-aholics.”
“They’re addicted to nuclear power,” said Mr. Freeman, the author of a bookthat argues that renewable energy can meet nearly all electricity needs. He said that when he joined the T.V.A. board, “they were telling me Watts Bar was 90 percent finished, but a few years later it was 84 percent finished.”
Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is another skeptic. “There are elements of T.V.A. that are drawn to nuclear like a moth to the flame,” he said. “And the reality is T.V.A. has been burned very, very badly by nuclear power over the years.”
The contractors lowballed the price to build it in 1970 and again in 2006, Mr. Smith said. “To make it like new, they’re pulling out equipment that has never operated, and replacing it with new equipment,” he said. For people who pay electric bills, he added, “this has been a disaster.”…..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/us/in-tennessee-time-comes-for-a-nuclear-plant-four-decades-in-the-making.html?_r=0
NUCLEAR-REACTOR SHIP HEADED TO GALVESTON TO BE SCRAPPED Kristi Nix, The Pasadena CitizenMonday, October 20, 2014 GALVESTON, TX –
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